Issues of Interest
Building North Central Washington’s Government Affairs team works hard every day to protect and represent not only our members, but our communities. We actively engage with elected officials and agency staff at both a local and state level on important issues that impact those we represent. Here’s some of the issues we follow.
Environmental & Natural Resource Policy
Employment / Labor Policy & Laws
Escalating Taxes & Fees
BNCW is constantly engaged in Local and State Issues. Keep up to date with what we’re up to by clicking the Ongoing Issues link below.
Some of the issues BNCW was involved with are summarized below.
2009 – Okanogan County Proposes New Comprehensive Plan
- Okanogan County decided to redo its land-use code top to bottom. BNCW & NCHBA got involved, joining the Okanogan County Coalition for Property Rights and sat on several advisory committees to help get the plan reduced from an original 400 page plan to a 70 page simplified and workable plan. The plan was adopted and implemented.
2011 – Douglas County Proposes Unpleasant Changes to Subdivision Ordinance
- Douglas County Staff proposed changes that would dissolve some of the best residential development tools. BNCW & NCHBA got involved. Members offered testimony & rationale for not adopting the changes. BNCW & NCHBA hired John Groen as legal council and Douglas County as a result took no action. The group Futurewise appealed the decision, driven by the Douglas County Staff. NCHBA rehires John Groen to intervene and wins the case before the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearing Board (EWGMHB).
2011 – Douglas County Engages in Strict Shoreline Enforcement
- Douglas County appeared to be taking measures deemed unnecessary and with questionable authority related to enforcement. BNCW & NCHBA engaged commissioners with reasonable discussion and came to an understanding. Commissioners in turn took a more measured approach and acted in support of limiting said enforcement actions.
2012 – Chelan County Proposes Increased Transportation Impact Fees
- Chelan County proposed heavily increased fees for developers and new homeowners. These fees would have impacted housing affordability immensely. BNCW & NCHBA lobbied the Commissioners and the plan was quietly dismantled.
2012 – City of Chelan Proposes Excessive Transportation Impact Fees
- At the request of the City’s Traffic Engineer and Public Works Department, enormous fees are proposed for any new business or development. BNCW & NCHBA rallied the Chelan Business Community and testified at the City Council presentation. These fees were a larger and more intrusive than the fees proposed by the county. After a strong show of opposition with business owners, the proposal was defeated and the City declined to further consider such fees.
2012 – Chelan County Proposes Moratorium on Development in Downtown Manson
- The county thought the code needed revision and proposed a moratorium on all development in Downtown Manson while deliberating changes. BNCW & NCHBA partnered with the North Central Association of Realtors (NCWAR) to intervene, pointing out the flaws in the reasoning. Also, problems related to the legality of the moratorium were discussed. As a result of this joint effort, County Commissioners did not adopt the moratorium and development continued.
2012 – Chelan County Proposes New Subdivision Code
- Chelan County wanted to adopt a code that infringed upon landowners and builders in the county. BNCW & NCHBA suggested the Commissioners to form an advisory committee. We held seats at the table and the new subdivision code is much better for all parties involved.
2013 – Douglas County Grading Ordinance
- Douglas County proposed a new Grading Ordinance that was oppressive financially and burdensome. The new ordinance was a direct assault on housing affordability. NCHBA reccomends county assigns an advisory committee. BNCW & NCHBA hold positions on the committee. The county eventually adopts standards for grading, but do not adopt the expensive permitting process. This considered a win for builders and property owners in the county.
2013 – Chelan County Attempts to Make Changes to Zoning
- The county was denying building permits and other applications based on their interpretation of private easement language related to setbacks. BNCW, NCHBA and NCWAR lobbied commissioners to make appropriate changes in county code and policy. The county adopted a new code and policy statement consistent with NCHBA & NCWAR goals.
2014 – Douglas County Development Standards Are Rewritten
- BNCW, NCHBA & NCWAR members participated in rewriting the Douglas County Development Standards. The standards were outstandingly bad and needed immediate change, especially with respect to required improvements. A panel was developed to work with the commissioners and resulted in many positive changes and in turn, saved a lot of money for homeowners in the county.
2015 – Douglas County Adopts International Energy Code
- BNCW, NCHBA & NCWAR suggested Douglas County adopt the International Energy Code versus the more more expensive and restrictive Washington State Energy Code. The county commissioners were interested, but the Washington State Building Codes Council (WSBCC) intervened and fought the proposal. NCHBA & NCWAR joined forces by hiring a consultant and ultimately got the county to adopt the International Code. This saved homeowners thousands of dollars on every home and increased housing affordability across the county.
2016 – Washington State Energy Code Update to Northern Tier Counties
- The WSBCC wanted to establish over-the-top energy codes for Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend O’rielle Counties. BNCW assisted the Norther Tier Counties by working with their respective Commissioners to have the code changed to reflect their special climate zone. This is a win for the counties and homeowners, saving them large amounts of money.
2019 – Douglas County Proposes New Private Road Standards
- Members of the county staff were denying building permits to property owners on primitive roads and in turn impose gravel road standards. BNCW opposed the staff proposal as it was an invasion of property rights. The staff behavior was corrected and the proposal defeated.